Friday, November 9, 2012

Plight by Joseph Beuys, 1985



Plight is an installation by Joseph Beuys created in 1985, a year before his death, for the Anthony d'Offay gallery in London. I took these pictures in Centre Pompidou in Paris where this installation was representing exactly the original one. Plight refers a precise moment: to dampen the sounds of building work next door, Beuys has promised the gallerist a work that opposed silence to sound. The installation consists of two spaces lined with thick rolls of felt. Once inside, the visitor experiences a sense of warmth and an ambivalent sense of isolation or insulation, of being both protected and cut off from the world. In absorbing sound, the felt renders even more incongruous the presence of a silent grand piano, on which lie a blackboard and a thermometer. The ambivalence and complexity of the work are reflected in its title, which evokes ideas of danger and constraint, and also obligation, and with it, promise.



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